Monday, May 26, 2008

Birding At Taman Negara

My Birding Trip to Taman Negara - 1st of May till 4th of May

Taman Negara (National Park) is a total protected area of the oldest tropical pristine lowland forest left in Peninsular Malaysia. It area is 4,343 sq km, it encompasses 3 states Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. This would allow visitors to choose their entry point to this 130 million years old tropical forest. There are 2 entries point from Pahang (Kuala Tahan, Merapoh). From Trengganu is Tasik Kenyir. If you want to access from Kelantan you can use Kuala Koh.
Taman Negara is a well known destination for jungle trekking, scale up gunung tahan the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia (2,187meters), wildlife watching, bird watching, guided nature walks, caving as well as nature photography. There are some looking forward for a challenging water sport can enjoy the white water rafting at certain areas here.
The nearest entry point to this national from Kuala Lumpur is from Kuala Tahan. Is is about 370++ KM from Ampang.

How to go to Kuala Tahan from Kuala Lumpur
Direct land transfer by self-drive. from Ampang use middle ring road (MRR2) pass Zoo Negara, follow the sign to Kuantan/Genting Highland. This would leads you to Gombak Toll and then to the Karak Highway. Use the New Pantai Timur Highway continue and follow the direction to Taman Negara, exit at 819 and head to Jerantut. Need not to turn into Jerantut town unless you need petrol/diesel refill, continue the journey with the signboard to Taman Negara. Look out for the sawmill at the traffic light, turn left beside this traffic light and travel on from this junction for 56km to the end of the road to Kampung Kuala Tahan. This last stretch of the roads be careful of some domestic cows may block the road. The journey from Balakong is about a leisurely drive of 4 hours with one toilet stop.
By Public Bus.
From KL Crowne Plaza Mutiara and Hotel Istana you can book your package NKS Travel ( You can ask for land transfer if you wish not to continue part of your journey by boat.
Part of the Journey by Boat transfer
From Jerantut head to the jetty of Kuala Tembeling transfer to Kuala Tahan. The journey by boat is about 2.5 hrs.
By Rail Train services are available from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The train passes Kuala Tembeling, from Kuala Tembeling, there is a half-hour walk to the jetty.

Choices of Accommodation
WEF from March the 2 fan chalet that can each fit 3 pax used to be able to book from Teresek View Motel can only be book from Jefry at 019-9640101/017-9169616.

If staying at Kampung Kuala Tahan to get to Taman Negara you need to take the short boat ride at RM1 per trip. You can negotiate for a to and fro trip for RM1.50. If you have this arrangement then you need to board the boat operate by the same company to and fro.

Park Fees
Regarding Park fees, Malaysia National Park fees is super cheap. The fees are charge for the whole duration of your visit. Every visitor needs to register at the Perhilitan Office (Wildlife Dept) near the Mutiara Resort restaurant. Fees are charge as below, this rates also apply for foreigners and child.

Entry permit - RM 1.00 per person

Camera licence - RM 5.00 per camera

Fishing license - RM 10.00 per fishing rod

Camping Fee - RM 2.00 per person

Canopy Walk -RM 5.00 per person

Do you need to hire guide? Guide is a must to hire if you want to scale up Gunung Tahan. The trails around the national park are well mark, it would be advisable not to stray away from the trails if you did not hire any guide. If you wish to have your trips arrange professionally and being guided by a bird-watching guide that can transfer you from KLIA, International airport up to here, do contact them before hand. There are few of the well-know bird guides in Malaysia.

For more information about Taman Negara, Kuala Tahan click on

Rules to observe in National Park
Observe all the rules of the National Park. Leave nothing, take nothing except photographs. Do not have any action that would harm any wildlife. Music and guitars are not allow cause this would cause an nuisance to others and the wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife. It is very important to ensure to do not litters anywhere. Dispose rubbish in the proper rubbish bin. Every visitors need to be enviromentally responsible because minor changes could have alter the eco-system. During this time of visit as I spent more times at the camp site I notice a wild boar even pick up a plastic bag to eat... Hei whoever you are this plastic bag that you litter could have unintentionally cause this wildboar to have stomach-ache. Me and few friends did try to stop it from eating that plastic bag but we fail to do so.. :-(

My Trip Reports

Teammates: Rafi, Angela, Aun Tiah, KT Chin, Mary, Mowsum, Mam, Kim

After having a assumption breakfast at the Royal Selangor Golf Club courtesy by Kim. We started at journey at 8:30am from Ampang. I pack the two ladies (Kim, Mam) into my small kenari. I drive very slow in my small little car. It was a leisure drive that takes us 4 hrs. Most of the road the highest road speed limit is 80/90 KM. I observed this traffic rules as this road speed limit is meant to ensure a safety journey and as well as will ensure that I will not have saman (traffic ticket for breaking laws).

At about 12:30 noon we found our way to Teresek View Motel where I pre-booked our accomodation. Along the way I keep received phone calls reporting to me some problems happen in office that required some assistant/advise from me. It sound like I'm an very important person.. but that is life for being a system and database administrators.

From outside this pink building looks quite decent but personally I found it's room it very small. It looks like we can't complain much cause all the rest of budget accommodation are full during this peak weekends. They offer air-condition (RM90), non air-con room (RM70) inclusive of breakfast. They also offer Dorm RM10 per bed exclude breakfast. Their breakfast menu is 1 egg, 2 pieces of bread, 1 cup of tea/coffee. I share a non-aircon room with Mam and Mary. We order an extra mattress but that extra mattress cannot fit into that room.. Our friend Mam with her brilliant ideas of combining that 2 single 3 1/2 feet wide bed we 3 ladies share that big bed. The non-air con rooms are on the 1st floor. The traffic noise of local boys zooming down to the Internet cafe at night for hang-out is quite a task to bear. Well we able to make do for 3 nights.

This is one type of accommodations at the Mutiara Resort. During this trip I found that if you want a comfortable and luxury holiday and wish not to pay Mutiara resort kind of rates, you can opt to stay at Woodlands or Rainforest Resort. Woodlands are a much more newer accommodation across the river.At about 3:30pm after register ourselves and settle our park and camera fees at the Perhilitan Office. We all opt to start our trip at the most favourable trail by birders - The Swamp Loop. The previous visit I do recall sighted the Crested Partridge. Birding at this most promising low-land forest require patience, less noise and as well as recognise their calls. Rafi packed along collections of our Malaysia birds in a mp3 player. This serve as a additional field guide to confirm the sightings. During April till June is our resident birds entering to their courtship and mating session, our resident birds are more vocal. At this trail we heard and saw Oriental Magpie Robin, Spectacled Bulbul (H), Banded Woodpecker (H), Raffle's Malkoha - female, Crimson Winged Woodpecker, Abbot's Babler, Black-Thighed Falconet, Brown Fulvetta (H), Banded Broadbill(H), Black and Red Broadbill, Grey-Checked Bulbul, Indian Cuckoo (H), Crested Fireback at least of 2 female 1 male and 1 male and 1 female. Yellow Bellied Prinia (H) - (near the green peafowl programme). Our bonus is we heard of the present of the Giant Pitta.

As I have in mind to aim for this trip at least I'm able to take some decent photos of the Crested Fireback, I walked to the camp site before the sunset to wait for them. I was relieved to noticed that there are no campers this would allow us the chances to see this ground birds more.. At about 6:05pm I notice the forest trail have some movements, OOOOh....oooh Kim the "Chicken" have arrived. Lets wait for them to come out cause this species is very hard to see in other patch of low-land forest back home. They need pristine forest for their survival. At about 6:15pm as there are only two of us at this campsite this flocks of Crested Fireback at least about 10 pair, we can safely said that there are about 19 of them came out foraging at the open fields. I was busy try all the mode to capture it's picture... Aaaarh why not clear woh ... Yuck... my camera could not capture the bird's colour.. I tried alot of setting until I finally got them right.. I don't own a flash therefore these are all lucky shots. As the lightings are getting lower I hold up my binoculars to observe them how they feeds and move. Wooow.. they are gorgeous... We notice that this flocks of Crested Fireback with more female then male bird (they are polygnous) seems to opt for some branches at this campsite to roost for the night.
This is the female bird looks like
This is a different Individual, which it's plumage is not as vibrant as the above male which I suspect it is the Harem.
Some Male bird would not be very far from the female bird. ... Hmm...very protective being.
Here me and Kim sighted and heard Chestnut Breasted Malkoha, Oriental Magpie Robin, White Rumped Shama, White Crowned Forktail, Plantive Cuckoo, Black and Yellow Broadbill.

OOOOh...oooh time pass so fast now is 6:30pm already... Kim let's walk back to the jetty as the others may be waiting for us. It was a very satisfactory session as managed to know the presence of the Giant Pitta, based on it's call this bird present is very near to me.. Being a shy bird as we human approached they would be even further away from us. Able to takes some good decent photographs of Crested Fireback, I'm all ready to called it a day.

For dinner we went to Tembeling River View to look for Cik Rosnah. As we drop in as an unexpected customers she is quite reluctant to cook for us.. I keep assure her that we whom she is quite use to her style of cooking we mind not what is being served on the table. A few of us who have been staying at her accomodations before whenever we are at Taman Negara we seems to pay her a visit like meeting a old friend. Her cooking is very much prefer by our groups. After a satisfaction meal we told her that we are coming back again tomorrow night. This meal is so much better than what we have at Teresek View where my plate of fried rice is super salty.

After breakfast we takes the boat to cross the river to get to Taman Negara. As the lightings in the trail is quite low yet we concentrate at the Campsite. Here we heard and sighted Moustached Babbler, Buff-Vented Bulbul,Streaked Bulbul, Blue Throated Bee Eater, Greated Racket Tailed Drongo, Grey-Cheeked Bulbul,Grey Bellied Bulbul, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Blue-Rumped Hanging Parrot (male , female), Plantive Cuckoo, Rufous Tailed Tailorbird, Dark-Necked Tailorbird, Spectacled Bulbul, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brown Barbet, Black-Headed Bulbul, Tiger Shrike,Hairy-Backed Bulbul, Abbot's Babbler, Banded Pitta (H), a Blue Flycatcher spp (H), Indian Cuckoo (H), Large Billed Crow.

Some of them trek into Lubuk Simpon, a few of them sighted the Great Argus Male. The female bird was being sighted by an UK birders couple an hour later.
I trek into Lubuk Simpon quite late my sightings are only Little Spiderhunter and Black-Capped Babbler.

I received an SMS from Kim that they have found a fruiting trees that attracted alot of birds near the Mutiara Resort's Hostel. There are basically 2 main species that fly in and out to feed on this trees (Bulbul and Barbet).
Here we sighted Blue-Eared Barbet, Red-Throated Barbet, Gold Whiskered Barbet, Red-Crowned Barbet, Yellow-Vented Flowerpecker, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Red Eyed Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Ashy Bulbul, Yellow Vented Bulbul, Scally Breasted Bulbul, Grey Bellied Bulbul.

OOOH no I'm too hungry I have to take a lunch break. We head off across to the floating restaurant Liana to have a simple meal. After that a few of us head back to the National Park. Me, Mam, KT Chin, Mary and Kim aim for the Swamp Loop. We have Pond Heron, Black Naped Monarch, . At some scrubs near to the board walk I spotted a few Crested Fireback. I told them to freeze and look out.. 3 of us stand there with no noise and less movements. I do recall Mam was very excited to have this spp as her lifers. As this birds stand on the rock near the board walk she keeps whisper and repeating the statement.. JUMP... jump... jump... come on jump up to the board walk.... It comes to materialised...

As the time is approaching 6pm the lighting inside the trail is getting dimmer and dimmer, we went back to the campsite we waited but today the flock of Crested Fireback decided to have another place to roost.. We then called it a day.

Mam whisper to him JUMP.. Jump... come on do it... JUmp...
Great thanks to Aun Tiah for he sacrificed his half day birding yesterday to help us to booked a boat ride to Yong and Blau hide. The night before it rained heavily. OOOh no leeches are very active. A few of them decided to dashed through run to the nearest hide to avoid leeches. A few of us choose the other way. We heard a lot of birds call rather than able to sight them. Anyway today the weather is not very fine.. it has indication that it would pours again.. Here we heard and saw Chestnut Winged Babbler (nesting), Puff-Throated Bulbul (my lifer), Great Hornbill, Black Magpie, Little Spiderhunter, Ferruginous Babbler, Rufous Tailed Tailorbird, Black Throated Babbler (H), Yellow Bellied Bulbul, Black Hornbill (H), Indian Cuckoo (H), Brown Fulvetta (H), Sooty-Capped Babbler (H), Striped Tit Babbler, Drongo Cuckoo (H), Grey Cheeked Bulbul, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Scarlet Rumped Trogon. Today seems to be one of my lucky day cause at 9:40am I, Angela and Mary managed to have a good look at the Male Banded Pitta. As I walked to catch up with the others at about 2++pm at the "T" junction between Blau and Yong Hide, I bump into a ground bird .. I know that ground bird are very shy I quickly hold up my binoculars and scan thru.. I noticed that it's does not have the vibrant colours like the Crested Fireback, this bird have 2 colours on it's face, it's tail is not long, it is not a fat bird to be a partridge, It has some hair sticking in dark blue that my brain quickly match it to a peafowl looking head... I have a feeling that I met a Malayan Peacock Pheasant... Another lifer... Anyway I very lucky so far up to now I yet to photographs anything yet today but I have LIFERs...

As it rain basically quite sometimes the leeches are very active. As I trek out some drop into my neck, my tripod, my camera, my shoes, my arm, my neck, my face. I have a few bites. Hide tide is about to cover all the stairs at the jetty, this indeed worry us. Haiyoh when is this boatmen comming to pick us up? How are we getting into the boat as the sky is about to pours again. Finaly he turn up in the brim of time before it rain, as we all safely get into the boat it rain. Thank you GOD..

As we walked back to our accomodation after a brief meal at Liana Restaurant. We sighted a Greater Coucal, Stork-Billed Kingfisher.
As today we finish off the day quite early, as the sun have not set me and Mam walked to Durian Chalet as I wish to checked out it's accomodation. On the way we sighted Blue Throated Bee Eater, White Breasted Waterhen, Chestnut Winged Babbler, Peaceful Dove, White Rumped Shama, Oriental Magpie Robin.

After dinner from Tembeling River View's kitchen a few of takes a night walk to the Woodlands to check out it's accomodations. I noticed that even it's is a posh hotel at the apposite side of Mutiara Resort. Their rates is much more lower than the mutiara resort.

Later a few of us walk over to Durian Chalet after that and we heard the presence of a Large Tailed Nightjar at Tahan Guest house. I told them that I'm very sure of that cause Large Tailed Nightjar is one of my neighbourhood back home.

Today is the last day as we know that the trails are quite soggy and the leeches are very active. I decided to collect data on what spp comes to feeds on this fruiting trees.

We have Green Broadbill, Hairy Backed Bulbul, Gold Whiskered Bulbul, Grey Bellied Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Black and Red Broadbill, Ashy Bulbul, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Gold Whiskered Bulbul, Scally Breasted Bulbul, Yellow Vented Bulbul, Red Eyed Bulbul

As we noticed basically are those spp that comes by, we then walked a little further where we noticed a fruiting tree flowering. Here we noticed Grey Breasted Spiderhunter, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker.

As we head back to campsite on the way we notice some Blue Winged Leafbird.

At the camp site we have Straw Headed Bulbul, Black and Red Broadbill, Scally Crowned Babbler, Rufous Crowned Babbler, Banded Woodpecker (male, female), Streaked Bulbul, Ashy Bulbul, Banded Pitta (H), White Crowned Forktail (fly pass).

At about 11:30pm me, Kim and Mam head back to our accomodation to check out and here we end our Taman Negara Trip. We would be heading to Kim's Nephew to stay a night at his hse to shorten up our journey to Bukit Rengit as we want to show our friend Mam our low-land forest Trogon.

All I can conclude that compare to all of the low-land forest that I have visited the wildlife and birdlife in Taman Negara is indeed more better. It is indeed a must place to visit for low-land forest birding.

Others Wildlife that we encountered in this trip.
Long-Tailed Macque, Giant Squirrel, Wild boar, some small squirrels spp and a Sambar Deer.


Anonymous said...

TQ Susan. A very informative blog,
especially directions to get there and the Accomodation available.

Great pics of the C Fireback Pheasant, Red-throated Barbet and the Scaly Bulbul.

No friendly hornbills?

I have yet to do birding at Taman Negara. Perhaps in 2009!


Wong Chor Mun said...

Yes there are some friendly hornbills during the time of our visit. I was exchanging some casual converstation with a boat men, he told me _ _ _ _ this trail he just send his customers "ada hornbills... alot..cause there is a fig trees fruiting..."

But.. but.. me and teammates are being pull off dues to alot of active leeches durint the time of our visit..

OK...sure we can include you for our Birding Trip to Taman Negara in year 2009...We hunt for Malaysian Peacock Pheasant yar.

wondersf said...

Thanks for sharing. I wish that more people will write like you. Just to let you know that I enjoy reading like being part of your trip. At the same time, it burns inside me, simply increase my "wish list". I must be there too!

Wong Chor Mun said...

hahah..haha... thank you U Kong for dropping by
BTW many peoples are also benefited from your sharing in numerous sites.. Therefore I pick this habit from you.

Jordan Sitorus said...

Thanks for ur visit to my blog! Really nice of you to drop a line or two there, & somehow lift my spirit with ur kind words.

Yours impressed me a lot, with tons of great photos & detailed infos. Keep up the good work & do stop by to check out my updates...normally weekly!

Thanks again, cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hello,nice post thanks for sharing?. I just joined and I am going to catch up by reading for a while. I hope I can join in soon.

Anonymous said...

Great informative post!

Christopher said...

Enjoyed viewing this site. Good information and pictures.We will be visiting T.N. 2012 October. We are birdphotographers.
Am unable to find any other references to the trails mentioned or Yong & Blau hide, would appreciate any further information .
Thank you, Angelika and Christopher


Interesting read your journey report to Taman Negara. Thanks for sharing.

Plan to go there soon for birdwatching.